/ If I can run a half marathon in 90 minutes ...
Its all about the long runs then.. without them it won't be..
> Its all about the long runs then.. without them it won't be..
Fortunately, there's plenty of time for them, and I do plan to do lots.
Ha! Good answer! However, if my experience from last year is anything to go by, I'll be lucky to do the training I want to do, never mind turning it up a notch or two. I do need to be a bit careful with a dodgy calf.
Sadly I don't know anyone else interested in trying to run a marathon at that pace. Pacing is going to be a big issue - I'm rubbish at it, and I can get away with it over 13 miles, but 26 might catch me out.
Join a club, I'm sure you'll find plenty of fast folks there.
I'm in a club, and I'm one of the fast ones! (Yes, I know that's a bit of a statement about the club!)
In theory a little bit quite, but so much to go wrong in a marathon.
I've done half in 1:26, 20 miles in 2:15, but I was in bits second half of the Manchester Marathon, slight niggle turned into a major problem at 9 miles and I had to battle like hell for 3:19. Form and training would suggest I should have run 2:58-3:03.
Little bit less (bloody iPhone predictive text).
I used to hang out on the sub-3:15 thread on RunnersWorld and most of the guys there were running 85/86 minute halves. But as iain says get the long runs in and a 90 minute half could easily translate to a 3:10 or quicker.
Hmm. That gives me 3.19.20.
Must train harder. And smarter.
Doesn't that go against pretty much all coaching advice from the last half century or more? It sounds perilously close training like you race and leaving you more susceptible to overtraining and injury for most people.
I'm aware of a coach who I believe you know whose most common piece of advice to people is to slow down, and he seems to have developed quite a few advocates based on the success of his suggestions.
> Doesn't that go against pretty much all coaching advice from the last half century or more? It sounds perilously close training like you race and leaving you more susceptible to overtraining and injury for most people.
> I'm aware of a coach who I believe you know whose most common piece of advice to people is to slow down, and he seems to have developed quite a few advocates based on the success of his suggestions.
30secs to a minute slower than race IS slow of you're running 7:40min miles in a race.
Running very slow will build your cardio very well for a beginner. It will only take you so far. Once you've got a couple of years under your belt you want to push a bit more.
No not at all. Read the blogs, look what the top runners do. They do easy runs for sure, but long runs are quite quick but the essential thing is that finish at a good pace, very close to race pace for the last 3 miles..
Its all about variability.. but 45 seconds off.. 1 min especially should be easy.. if not how are you going to step up..
I've been doing too many slow miles.. now I do easy but lots of 6:20-6:40 miles.. and did a half in 75 on Saturday and it felt pretty easy.. the guy I'm training with is 66 half marathoner.. and that with an injury.. his coach, a top guy in south africa has been working out a schedule and its taken him from 71 > 65 in under a year.. but there are some brutally tough sessions..
10 x 2:50 min/k's with recovery for 1 k at 4 min k's... so a 20 k session at 28:20 10 k pace... recoveries at 40 min 10k pace.. just brutal sessions. I just can't comprehend how much he hurts.
But I went from marathon pbs of 2:46 (in a competitive race) to 2:39 (on my own in strong winds) with mainly adding long runs and long runs finishing quickly..
My 4mile is at race pace for 10k and my 10mile contains about 4-5 miles at half marathon pace.
I was reading a book for the over 40 runner... I was having a bad day when I just felt beaten up.. :-)
This guy reckoned there were 3 magic bullets to marathon running.
1. long run at a good pace
2. The X in Y runs
3. 1-2 k reps 30 seconds quicker than marathon pace.
I think if anyone structured their week around those 3 basic sessions off an unstructured week they'd see significant improvements..
X in Y runs ??? What are they?
You have to do some running at race pace, it feels fast, but with a taper it feels much easier come race day and you should get to 10 miles pretty fine..
> X in Y runs ??? What are they?
Tis in my post about three up. Hard sesh but dead good for you.
So the X is the marathon (or whatever) pace bit in the middle of a slower beginning and end? Sounds good.
My so far more haphazard way has been to just try in every run to do some faster miles, using my gps watch to check. That means at the moment that I'll hope to do some 7:30 ish miles somewhere in a run where otherwise I am doing 8:15 ish, depending on hills. I'd like to push the 7:30 down to 7:00, mind, and for longer. Which means more X, at higher v and less of the Y, I think.
At the moment I am running out a strange niggle in the right calf. As in, nothing seems to be fundamentally broken or ripped in two or detached, but when I run hard uphill, it really hurt, last week. With gentler running on flatter terrain over shorter distances it has seemed better, and gradually seems to cope with longer distance. 8 miles now seems OK, and I'll try 10 at the weekend if all is still well. It's as though something got tangled and needs coaxing into being unravelled.
Just seen it - all is clear now!
Its all trial and error.. there are a few key sessions.. but try them all.. the main thing is keep a high variety.. but you won't run at marathon pace unless you train at it.. you won't suddenly find 30 seconds a mile, its why races in the build up are also handy..
When you seriously marathon train you know it. Constant tiredness.. by the end you feel on the edge physically.. but then you start to taper.. maintaining sharpness and trust on race day.
re the 10% + double half.. I think that includes those who get too much wrong.. so its a rough guide but if you get it right.. 10 mins should be OK.
But its hard to get a marathon right.. I think one of the hardest distances to pull off as its a mixture of fitness and intelligent running and confidence.
But thats why I'm a huge believer in build up races, so run pbs, do 10k's the odd half, even a controlled 20 mile race..
45 miles of running plus 4 or 5 km of swimming leaves me constantly tired as it is. And I haven't even entered anything yet. It's the Welsh 3000s next up in late May, and personal goals of running 1500, even 2000 miles in a year, having broken the seemingly unattainable 1000 miles in a year a couple of months ago. In other wrods, I'd like to just keep this going, while doing what it takes to get faster, because that is more fun, then see what I can do with that. That should ward off the comfy chair for a while.
and I may well try those foam rollers.....
I think its good to have a variety of goals.. annual mileage.. short and long term road goals.. new pbs then the extra stuff like 3000ers.. Mountain marathons.. each year I've tended to do some other unique event like the 3 peaks yacht race, last year an elite MM, multi day ultras, the UTMB, classic road marathons.. it just helps keep the focus and keeps it different.
I would advise the op to get used to just doing the miles first and worry about the pace later. To be blunt , most people are pretty one paced anyway and their race is barely faster than their race pace. What world class runners do is pretty irrelevant to most people as they can't go back to bed and sleep till their next run.
> I would advise the op to get used to just doing the miles first and worry about the pace later. To be blunt , most people are pretty one paced anyway and their race is barely faster than their race pace. What world class runners do is pretty irrelevant to most people as they can't go back to bed and sleep till their next run.
You can't think thats true for a 1:30 halfer?
Maybe for a 1:50/2 hr..
Weekly long runs are also an issue.. tbh I'm not sure how many who are serious do XC.. I used to do road races the day after a long run.. but would accept poorish performance. And XC is what once / month?
But I'd very much doubt if Tony ran all miles at 7 min miles..
I think your point stands.. at the slower speeds.. but I think Tony is past that point.. 1:30 hr for a half is decent club standard.
> But I'd very much doubt if Tony ran all miles at 7 min miles..
I know I need to get many more miles. I don't have a target race in mind - just something in the autumn, hopefully flat, so I've plenty of time to get long runs, but I am also wary of just clocking up long slow miles without any emphasis on race pace.
I was chatting with my training partner today and he says the rule of thumb is half marathon pace + 15 seconds / km... which is 5.5 minutes.. obviously thats longer for slower runners and that would be with perfect prep...
Andy mentioned a long time ago 5 long runs equalling over 100 miles in total.. and since then thats been a general guideline that I've heard time and time again and followed myself..
Fell runners make the mistake of equalling times to miles.. which just doens't work.. so count a 4 hour fell run as similar to a four hour road run... when in reality a 4 hr fell run is walking.. chatting to people.. stop for lunch.. photos.. and generally poor training..
Trail running can help the marathon, undulating forest trails or good vehicle tracks but pure fell running just leaves you short.
For me there are a few key things that I've found.. don't do long runs every week.. 15/16 miles is enough.. then a midweeker of 10-12 those for me are done around 6:30 pace when my marathon pace is low 6's... then X in Y type marathon paced sessions and intervals, longish, 1-2 k's at around 30 seconds under marathon pace for 7-10k's of efforts.
Great topic and perfect timing.
I did a half 3 weeks ago in 92 mins (but was ill the night before and not 100%, think sub 90 otherwise).
Running Belfast Marathon on Monday and have been trying to work out my race strategy. Its my first road marathon having done a couple of trail marathons last year.
Current plan is go out easy, stick with 3.15 pace group to half way. Then see how I feel for the second half - hopefully stick with 3.15 pace at least.
In training I'm probably guilty of going too fast most of the time. Last long run a week ago was 18 miles, half trail half road, average 8min miles, last 4 miles at marathon target time, finishing fairly fresh and comfortable.
> I was chatting with my training partner today and he says the rule of thumb is half marathon pace + 15 seconds / km... which is 5.5 minutes.. obviously thats longer for slower runners and that would be with perfect prep...
10.5 mins (an extra minute for every 4km, so 10.5mins for 42km), unless I've misunderstood your suggestion.
Too tired from this mornings 21 k with him.. he did 21 k @ 6:25 min mile pace off just a cup of coffee..
Good luck anyway - main thing is to enjoy it.
> I'm in a club, and I'm one of the fast ones! (Yes, I know that's a bit of a statement about the club!)
Ok, well that about the only useful bit of advice I've got on this thread.
Whats your advice.
Generally clubs are pretty poor standard, so 1:30 marathon would put you at the front end of most clubs I know. Certainly in Eryri, 300 runners, we only have maybe 10 runners who were sub 120 another 20 sub 1:30.. so maybe 10%..
So it can be hard to find others.. also many don't want to do that.. it can be hard to find partners who want to push runs hard, faster ones willing to run with you and slower runners who don't want to feel slow running with someone quicker.
Went for 8 miles on Sunday night aiming for race pace - around 7.27 min miles, took it easy and stayed comfortable and ended up 7.15 average.
I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes - and hopefully enjoying it, but enjoyment will likely be linked with performance.
I think being mentally prepared has a fair bit to do with it. I'm sure I can do 3.15 or faster and am happy I've done enough to achieve this. Less reading posts like yours and more of the 'double half marathon time +10min' will help! (joking, all input appreciated)
Interesting, my club is very much not an elite club and fairly small, maybe 30-40 active senior and vet men, but I reckon half have done a sub 1:30 half.
Yours is a lot better than mine. We have a similar number of active men running, of whom I think 2 of us have done a sub 1.30 half in the last year. There aren't many folk in the club particularly interested in road running (we have fabulous trail and hill running instead), and there are a few who are considerably better than me on the hills, but I'll beat them in a half marathon.
Iain, assuming you actually read the fitclub thread, you know how much I run. i.e. not much and that I'm a fat, slow runner at best.
My running training advice would be to follow what you say, as you're rather good. If I were that serious about it, that's what I'd do.
It means (that in response to the earlier post by me) that as my one suggestion, which was 'join a club to find faster runners to train with' wasn't much use, I have nothing else useful to contribute. Probably a bit pointless to post it up. But there we go.
Out of the local clubs, I know one of them has quite a few fast and serious runners. But I'm sure it's hard to find folk to run at the same level at you when you're at the faster end of things. But at the same time, my club, is more of a social club, so we wouldn't be good if you wanted to find someone fast to run with.
This means that clubs like ours have no sub 80 min HM runners, where I can't recall seeing anyone slower than 90mins ever in a Leeds AC vest, but they'll have three teams worth in the top 100 at the national xc. Although there are a couple of clubs with broader paces, for the most part if you get quick you transfer to Leeds AC or Pudsey and Bramley, and the rest of the clubs end up with the also-rans.
I've just had a read back at my blog from 2010 (when I ran my mara PB) and found this:
Andy's Marathon Race Day Rules
1. Plan the race - and stick to it. Absolutely the best thing about Sunday was knowing what I was going to do and then doing it. Because of the injury my biggest worry was blowing up at 16+, so I adjusted my target from sub-3 to 3:15 (which had always been the goal) and ran steady. Leading to rule 2:
2. There is no feeling better than passing shagged out people when you're tired yourself. I was fine at 18, which is the point in the previous 3 marathons I've started to really struggle (having known from half way the game was up). At 20 I was tired but still moving easily, and had started to pass some people who'd been a long way ahead. At 23 I was knackered - but still passing people who by this time were generally in a really bad way. Leading to rule 3:
3. You can never, ever bank enough time by going out quickly. I saw people who may have gained several minutes by putting the hammer down in the first half or even 15 miles. Those same people will have lost all that and a lot more by running at 10 min mile pace + for 5 or 6 miles at the end. Just do the maths - run 30 seconds quicker than target pace for 20 miles and you're 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Very good. Then walk for 2-300 yds out of every mile to the finish - and lose maybe 3 minutes a mile. You're 8 minutes down on the deal. Don't do it, kids.
Great post. I've seen friends go into their marathon with a goal of running sub-3 and then taking the first 10km out at sub-2:50 pace. Silly! Don't do it.
> Great post. I've seen friends go into their marathon with a goal of running sub-3 and then taking the first 10km out at sub-2:50 pace. Silly! Don't do it.
I used to train with a guy I called "The Afterburner" on my blog - despite everyone telling him it wouldn;t work he was convinced that if he hit half way in sub-1:25 (when 1:25 was his HM PB) he'd have enough in the tank to hang on to go sub-3.
From memory his splits were 1:29/2:10! To be fair he had an injury a few weeks out (as did I) - but rather than shift the target he still went out miles too fast. You can track people every 5k online at London and I was just sat at home watching him get slower and slower.
I did the same with one of my friends at London, through 10km in 40 mins, halfway in 1:27, finished in 3:08 with pace getting slower every 5km split. Fortunately he ran Manchester on Sunday (just a week after London!) and must have learnt his lesson as he was just in front of the 3 hr pacer for most of it and finished in 2:59:45 :-)
The target should be even splits +/- 2 minutes IMHO. My PB was run off a 50 second positive split.
I ran a half a month before both my marathons-
1:30 for half and 3:30 for full.
I was pushing for a 'good' time in the half and just looking for a respectable finish in the full.
Hope that helps.
Saying that I did it at lochness.. ran a 1:21 and 1:31 splits.. legs just went at 16... was just a few minutes too quick to half way.
My best splits remain 1:19, 1:21 for my 2:39.. but even that was wind assisted on the way back.. but maybe pushing into the wind took a tad out of me.
London is great for the watching on the web... I had a lovely morning, up at 7 am, hard 20 k.. get back.. sit and watch.. a mate ran a superb 2:23 to win the welsh championships.. his first 5k was quick. so he slowed but then he just held it superbly.
Interesting events at the front in Manchester on Sunday, it was always going to be a race between Dave Norman and Andi Jones, but Andi had a huge lead over Dave at half way, as much as a mile according to someone I spoke to, but Dave beat him by two minutes.
Another interesting thing was that Dave had personal pacers, his brother Andy and Ben Riddell from Salford. I am not sure what the deal was, but they were only working for him. I will have to ask Ben when I see him.
Here is Dave's race report: http://www.runnerslife.co.uk/dave-norman/race/greater-manchester-marathon/680
Apparently Andi had arranged pacemakers, so Dave did too, then come race day both of Andi's couldn't start. It was a good race and Dave a popular winner locally.
> Here is Dave's race report: http://www.runnerslife.co.uk/dave-norman/race/greater-manchester-marathon/680
> Apparently Andi had arranged pacemakers, so Dave did too, then come race day both of Andi's couldn't start. It was a good race and Dave a popular winner locally.
Yes I was there, I don't really know Dave, but I do know Ben and quick a few of the Sweatshop crew.
I just though the different approaches were interesting in a discussion about pacing a marathon. Andi is the faster runner, but clearly ran a much higher risk strategy.
But he had organised pacers and they dropped out.. I think Andy was running better at the time so was expected to win but went for gold..
I think I didn't manage it until my third one.
It's a long way and mental rather than physical, especially having the ability to go slow at the start on fresh legs after a good taper. Then, anything can happen, especially if you've not got your water/jelly baby strategy right.
Exactly - my first marathon was just a case of 'try to do under 4 hours' and 'hope I make it round the course'.
That wasn't pessimism, just an acknowledgement that anything over 20 miles was unknown territory.
Now I know I can easily cover the distance, it doesn't daunt me, so I can concentrate on pace and strategy whereas in the early days it was only a minor consideration.
I seem to be following and breaking the tips and guidelines posted on the thread so far. First marathon in Manchester last Sunday. Previous half PB was 1:24. Trained with my five biggest runs being 100 miles, plus a mixture of tempo (X/Y) runs, steady recovery runs. Was aiming for a sub 3 which I always knew was going to be pushing it but why not set yourself a challenge.
Race day had me well pumped up and just could hold myself back in the early miles, my tapering had left me raring to go and the early miles just felt so good. First half was actually a PB at 1:23, so way too quick. I knew and had it built into me that there were going to be long sections where I had to hang in there. It hit me at around 18, and I suffered. But what I am still surprised at is my mile times only dropped into the 7s, up to 7:30. I managed to pull myself home in 2:54.
Iím not attempting to big myself up here, just adding to the debate and showing that there are exception to the rules. I wouldn't plan to go off fast again and can see my strategy is flawed but sometimes if you expect miracles they might just happen.
Its not really an exception to the rule.. :-)
You just misjudged how quick you could run and did what we have all done..
I did similar at Boston, 30 C.. hottest day in the history of the race.. so went off hard to make up time.. knowing I'd slow in the heat.. so did it deliberately.. ran a half pb but I was in a mess come 18.. almost dropped out at 10 as I knew it was getting messy..
Ran 2:44 but was in sub 2:40 shape but I was passing properly elite runners so we all got it wrong that day. I think I made top 100 where as normally I'd have been top 250 or so.
Thanks, Iím now left pondering where to go next. The appeal of going sub 3 was huge, now Iíve achieved it I wonder whether I need to put myself through that again, just with the goal of beating the PB. Having said that London is tempting and since I get a GFA place it seems rude not to. What keeps you coming back to marathons? ÖÖÖ I guess itís a bit like asking ďwhy do you climb?Ē but Iím generally interested in the motivation, it seems a bit more obvious with climbing.
I then ran 3:03 in Snowdonia so knew sub 3 was a formality.. I then ran 2:46 which just shocked me.. so then my aim was sub 2:45.. that took another 3 years.. then I wanted sub 2:40... now I want sub 2:35..
there's always another goal..
I love marathons as I seriously think they are the greatest measure of a runners ability.. you need speed, endurance, experience and intelligence. You need the full package to get it right, I'm still not sure I've done that yet.
Berlin next if all goes to plan.
I'm by no means a fast runner 4:30 best marathon, 1:54 best half. The long runs I've done in marathon training have had a massive impact on my heart rate at the kind of paces that I was running halfs last year. I'm fairly sure I'm capable of sub 1:45 but will see how I do on Sunday in an undulating trail half.
Possibly my problem is that I don't run flat road races. I ran Peterborough half last year at 9min/mile in prep for the Rutland Water marathon. It was unbelievably easy. Rutland was not, by mile 10 running at 9min/miles, against freezing wind, rain and 'undulations' I was struggling.
I held on right to the end though, some parts running along flooded paths where the water was halfway up my calves. People were finishing borderline hypothermic. A brutal day!
Essentially what I discovered was I need 5 aims for a race. If my first aim was lost then I have a second etc. This way I'm not lost if the first aim becomes unattainable.
1. Sub 4 - theoretically easily achievable in ideal conditions on an undulating course.
2. Sub 4:15 - if sub 4 isn't happening then drop pace to recover and set new target.
3. Keep running and finish in whatever time this produces.
4. Run 100m, walk 20m.
Well you have to have a go. Clearly you don't want to go bonkers and at the same time you want to run something that's personally meaningful. I would also argue that if you've run 90 minutes and you then go and jog round in 3.40 (pick a number) you probably haven't learnt much for your next effort.
I would hesitate to slate Andi Turner for having a pop at Manchester and blowing up. At some point as an elite runner you need to have a go and see what happens. This is trueat all distances, it's just the price for failure in the marathon is rather.
Also, earlier, even though 1.30 is a reasonable club standard, I'd still argue that pace judgement is still pretty lacking normally, and most people are pretty well 3 speed, and that's true for people a lot faster than 1.30 as well
I can tell you from bitter experience what "suffering" is (this was when i was after 3:15) - it's going through half way in 1:35 then running 2:20 for the second half! That was London 07 (I think) when it was unbelievably hot and everyone crashed and burned. I was stopping, cramping, walking and all sorts. Now that's suffering!
Thanks andy, I hope I never hit that level of suffering! It didnít feel like the perfect marathon somehow, I would have liked to feel more in control of those miles from 18 up to 23, I got it back when I could smell the finish. I am amazed that the wheels didnít come off more substantially, when I was enduring it I expected my times to be down towards 10 minute miles but somehow the body was doing things that my mind couldnít rationalise (does that make sense). I guess that is down to the long hard miles of training, so Iím glad I slugged those out.
I like the description from Iain about the marathon requiring speed, endurance, intelligence and experience. The balance of those is a fabulous cocktail and I am intrigued to see what I could bring to it with more experience. I also find that unerring motivation is required and I am wondering whether I can find that to go for 2:50 next time. I keep talking myself in and out of it!
I've entered the ballot for London but really I'd rather do the Fred Whitton!
Especially as youve now ran a good time you want to beat that so just finishing is no big deal.
The big city marathons are a good laugh, pretty unique experience.
I did another 6 months later (where ironically it was the chilling effect of gale force winds and driving rain that got me), but had largely then realised I needed more time to build myself into an all round stronger runner before trying to do a respectable marathon.
If training goes well you enter a marathon with a lot of confidence and that gives you a lot of mental strength. When you are doing 16-20 milers and the long runs are finished with 3-4 at marathon pace, you know you are ready.
Ok then, new question...
What time do I have to run for a half to be in with a shout of running run a 3hr marathon?
My pb for 10k is under 39 and for a half is 86. I've never ran a marathon because of the amount of training I'd have to do. I can train for a half alongside a reasonable amount of climbing but I think something would have to give if I trained for a marathon. I want to do one before I get too much older and would quite like to get close to 3hrs.
> Ok then, new question...
> What time do I have to run for a half to be in with a shout of running run a 3hr marathon?
> My pb for 10k is under 39 and for a half is 86. I've never ran a marathon because of the amount of training I'd have to do. I can train for a half alongside a reasonable amount of climbing but I think something would have to give if I trained for a marathon. I want to do one before I get too much older and would quite like to get close to 3hrs.
In theory you are not much off it, but it is all down to putting the training in and how things pan out on the day.
If you had a solid 16 weeks training.. 4 months.. I think you'd get it.. I don't know your mileage now but not many run sub 3's off much less than 40 miles a week.. I've a mate who runs well 34 mins 10k.. but always struggles come mile 22.. and I think its purely a mileage thing.. our pbs at 10k are similar.. by a marathon 10 mins apart..
But as the link I posted earlier suggested most people, especially away from the sharp end of the field, struggle to achieve such tight conversion. The data from over a thousand runners suggested that most who go sub 3hrs for the marathon have half pbs closer to 82mins.
If you're strong over distance you might be able to do it with your current pace, but you'd be something of an outlier, especially among non-elite runners.
But getting a marathon right is not easy.. thats the beauty of the distance.. training.. over training.. gut issues on the day.. too fast a start... cramp... injury.. there's just so many things to go wrong. But good training helps.
I'm running Bristol half this year and if I can put in the miles before hand I could try and go sub 85. I never really do any speed work, my runs are very one paced and I only do any hill work because there happen to be a lot of hills around where I live. Is there a lot of benefit to working on how you run rather than just putting in miles? would running with a club help?
I'm very tempted to enter Brighton next year (don't really fancy London). I suppose the advantage of a spring marathon is that you can train through the winter and not miss out on too many climbing days.
I appreciate your point about having the rest of the weekend to climb. unfortunately I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter who might not appreciate that, but I guess the point is that running doesn't actually take up that much time. I guess if you're committed to training you'll make the time. I could always run to work instead of cycling.
Although it is possible to run a good intelligent race as you suggest, the data implies that even with practice most people struggle to successfully achieve it. I think it's worth anyone targeting the distance being aware that it's fairly common to have difficulty getting anywhere near that perfect event, even with several attempts.
Yeah I think run with better runners.. more quality miles.. if that means joining a club.. then do..
Just mix sessions.. tempo's.. reps.. steady runs.. long runs.. x in Y runs.. see above.. I train with a guy who has two kids.. he runs at 6 am every day. I only run once a week with him.. as it kills me to run so early.. but its good to see how he's changed his running to cope.
But accept set backs.. I'm not sure there ever is a perfect marathon.. I just ran 7:19 for 100k.. a huge pb.. yet I still look back and think 10 seconds here.. 1 minute there..
Biggest problem I had when trying to balance climbing / running was that the former really suffered when training hard for the latter - made me appreciate how much you use your legs when climbing (now hardly ever climb in the uk having drifted almost completely to alpine / ski touring, with which the running fits really well). So if you're training for a sub-3, and unless you're super-talented, you will be trashed most of the time. One thing from your profile is that you have your best years ahead of you - folks I run with - good club runners - haven't hit their peak till late 30's to mid 40's. And if you want a fast, flat marathon, Abingdon is ideal....organised by runners (local club, of which I'm a member) for runners of all standards. Mid October, fills up fast http://www.abingdonmarathon.org.uk/
Excellent thread, BTW.
Agree with this, my climbing has been non-existent whilst training for the marathon. I just couldn't muster the energy to get to the wall to train as well as pounding the streets to train. Sure there are folk out there that can juggle both, I take my hat off to them.
Since yesterday and reading about all the great autumn marathons on the other thread I seem to be swerving back from the "why do another one" thinking, to rubbing my hands together and thinking Snowdon, Loch Ness, Abingdon, Chester..... 2:50....... this is how I get addicted to things!
Closed for online entries but still accepting entries by post - if you act fast.....
Me and the wife normally marshalling at about mile 10 / 18.
I don't think Snowdonia's the one to go for if you're aiming for 2:50 !! It's got about 750m ascent/descent - have a look at the course profile on the website.
Anyway, it's full for 2013, so you can go get your 2:50 on a nice flat one this year, and do Snowdonia next year "just for fun" :-)
Small update to add to the data.
I have done 3 halves under 90 mins. My pb is 85:50 and I did one in November in 87:10. I just did Milton Keynes marathon in 3:31. It went, really, really wrong.
70 mins to 10 miles, 1:32 at half way, just totally caved. Can't work out what went wrong. I hit the wall at 9 miles, running slower than my half marathon pace. Sometimes I guess things just don't work out.
Do you read Stu Mills' blog? He talks about the myth of negative splits.. that in reality they aren't that important or even the right way to go...
You should have been very very close to sub 3.
What was your pace for the first 5? The pace would normally drop 15-16 onwards..
What was the problem legs? stomach or just energy wise?
I have read it yeah, I actually met Stu at the Steyning Stinger this year, although he didn't know I knew who he was. Nice chap.
It was so, so hot. I was aiming for 3:05 so went out at 7 min miles, paced it almost perfectly to 5, through 5 and all the way to 8. Put a slower one in (7:15) and put it down to a slight incline and then I just couldn't get going again. I put it down to the heat but my quads just died and I got gut rot trying to take too many fluids on. I started walking parts in the first half and was running 8-9 and even 10 minute miles. I considered pulling out as it obviously wasn't my day but decided to just man up.
Having said all that, I was in the top 10% at the end and the winner ran 2:45 so I'm not the only one that had a mare. St John's had a busy day!
2:45 is a slow winning time for a decent sized marathon.
It's already forgotten, I think more people DNFed than finished in front of me!
runbritain rankings has it down as a better relative performance than my 3:40 at the Stinger, and that's off road on the downs so loads of ups and downs!
1. What elite runners do is irrelevant. I was pretty good, and it was irrelevant to me as well as I couldn't spend all day in bed, Just because elites do x,y and z in sessions is no guidance at all to anyone running slower than 2.25 or so
Note also they are often very conservative in their estimation of mileages and pace to compound this.
2, Most runners can't pace. I don't believe his assertion that most people can pace 10k properly, not without a GPS watch they can't. I did a 10 mile tempo with a bunch of very experienced runners and we were all over the place.
3. Negative splits are harder than you think. Really, you're going to get really tired, and start to get problems maintaining style and tempo, and then you're going to get faster?
Aim - 3.15
Half way - 1.35 (couple of mins faster than planned)
Finish time - 3.24
Set off too fast (7 min miles for the first 5) then slowed to half way, was picked up about 14 miles by 3.15 paced group and stuck with them to 20 miles then couldn't keep the pace, started to struggle and had to walk a hill at 24 miles. Managed to run last mile and a half.
- Should have started slower (with the 3.15 group as planned!)
- Lost track of my own pace and mile markers when with the group, didn't get control of this again after I was dropped.
- I've been training late evenings all year, heat didn't help.
3.15 definately was achievable but I didn't get it right on the day. Was surprised to only lose 9 mins in the last 6 miles as pace felt terrible and I walked for 5-10 mins.
Will be back to try again :)
Of course, when you get there with your watch programmed to bleep every 3 miles with predicted times and you find you feel great & the 3rd mile is downhill & you run it in 6:05 then all bets are off & 2:45-ish starts to look possible... Needless to say, by Tower Bridge my legs were complaining and by Docklands I was being passed by Father Christmasses - but I still got round in 2:53:51, 40 seconds late. I do wish I had had the sense to trust my original judgement - there might have been a sub-2:50 in there with more considered running - but what is life for if you don't go for it occasionally??
Many thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts, advice and experiences - it's always useful to get other perspectives.
I'm still not sure I'm going to do a marathon, but I am going to be upping the miles (20 miles this weekend), and if the dodgy calf holds up, I'll probably go for it. I may even report back ...
His analysis is fundamentally flawed though, as Robert Osfield comments on the blog post.
I'm still not sure, I also don't think the 100k comparison is valid though as muscle damage is a much greater issue whereas you could hold on for a marathon.. but his general message is right, don't get too hung up on them..
However when you look at averages you bias the results.. as the negaive splits are constrained yet positive splits aren't..
Looking at race data as he has will tell you nothing other than what people did in the race.
The main inference that can be taken from the Elite Men's times at London 2013 actually supports the complete opposite of what he proposes, a positive split resulted in the slowest winning time since 2007.
Olympic marathons are often slow too..
TBH I can't see why a constant pace isn't the best..
If I got out for a 2:05 marathon I have to pace it absolutely right. So I start off at that pace. On one day, I'll be having a blinder, everything is working great and in the second half I realise I've got a bit left and I kick towards the end. I do a negative split and finish in 2:03:59. On a different day I get to the second half, it didn't go all that well and I die a bit in the last few miles and finish 2:06:40.
So negative splits are in general faster times, but the tactic at the start is generally the same, go out to do a constant pace. I just think it's a bit of a knife edge getting that right, so people start conservatively to make sure they get a fast time.
(By the way, that was a metaphorical me. The real me starts at 3:05 pace and dies at 9 miles, as already discussed!)
When I go for a 2:05 I liken it to bank charges - if I go slightly overdrawn early on not only have I got the debt to pay back, my body starts charging for sending the letters, etc. Therefore it's better to go into debt later in the race before compound interest has had chance to take it's toll. See, bankers to blame again.
For most of us there's a huge psychological boost of passing people later in a race, rather than being reeled in flagging. But mostly the bankers, it's always the bankers.
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